One should never say never.

My hubby and I used to enjoy visiting the Great Smoky Mountains. After he passed, I thought that part of my life had come to an end. Vacations were a thing of the past.

Yet here I am sitting and relaxing in a motel room after walking the strip in Pigeon Forge! I’m going to share my adventures through my blog, and I hope to entertain you.

We started out Tuesday morning. I drove to my friend Sharon’s house. I parked in her garage because we were going in her SUV. So I put my keys in my glove compartment and went into house. When we left, I went to open the back of my SUV and realized with horror I had automatically pressed the auto lock button before shutting the door!

Had to call daughter to meet us at my house to let me in to get my spare key. What a way to start, right? But we were determined not to get stressed about anything…so we just had a little delay. I like to think it is all God’s doing. He delays all of us to prevent anything bad from happening. We might have been in an accident if we’d left on our time table.

We were in no hurry to get to Tennessee, so we took a longer route avoiding major interstates. What a joy! Traffic was so sparse and scenery was gorgeous. We wanted to eat at places we couldn’t in Ohio.

Our first stop was at Diner 23. What a perfect place for us to stop! It was a true diner…a blast from the past.

So clean and the service was great. The food was wonderful and abundant! I chose the meatloaf and Sharon chose the marzetti.

We drove on to Kingston Tennessee where we stopped for dinner…or as they say in the south…supper. We passed two hotels and planned to go back to one of them for the night. No hurry, no worry!

I forgot to get a picture of the sign, but it was a little dive called Pizza Plus. Small, clean, and fabulous service.

Clean platers! Ron would be proud. The best part of eating there was the guy who ran the place. He was so friendly. We decided to ask hi a good place to spend the night. He said we shouldn’t stay at any of the places there in town. They weren’t a good place for two ladies to stay. He even named another place to avoid where the occupants paid by the hour!

He gave us good directions in the same direction we were traveling where we could find some nice hotels. We first tried a Hampton Inn but the were filled up. Baseball team! The lady at the desk told us not to go to the Quality Inn, so we went to the third option…Comfort Suites. The beds were so comfortable. The room was spacious, had a fridge, microwave, two TVs and a sofa in addition to the 2 queen size beds. A lovely view from the parking lot. And they provided a full free breakfast.

After a great night’s rest, full tummies, we began day two. More tomorrow. I will never say never again!

If I Promise God, I’ll Keep My Commitments!

Love for the new yearIf I promise God, I’ll keep my commitments! This I’ve learned, but so easily have forgotten.

Lately, I’ve slipped away from eating healthy foods to control my blood sugar. I’ve gained weight, I don’t have enough energy, and I get depressed.

I know I’m at a higher risk for a heart attack or stroke because of my diabetes, so it is important that I take the steps necessary to get back to a healthy diet. I’m very good at finding excuses to eat pizza, cheeseburgers, and fries. Too tired to cook. Nothing thawed out. Want to eat with a friend.

I’m much better at excuses than following good practices with food.

When I was first diagnosed, I was smacked in the face with the reality that I could lose limbs, become blind, and die of heart attack or stroke if I didn’t change my eating habits. Once I reached my goal, I began to slack off. Hey, I was taking medication. That should take care of things going forward. WRONG!

So today as I sit here sipping my afternoon cup of tea, I’m promising God that I will abstain from any sweets and from fries, cheeseburgers, and carbonated beverages!

I can’t break a promise to God. He has never broken a promise. NEVER.

And I will remember that all things are possible with Christ!

I know this won’t be easy. It is going to be a lifestyle change for me and when I enjoy having meals out with friends, it will be harder to make good choices. Instead of focusing on how “hard” it might be, I’m going to begin to make changes in my daily eating. I was able to do this before and I know that as long as I turn to Jesus when I feel overwhelmed, He will see me through.

Do you make promises to God? Care to share your experiences?


Here is Your Cup of Tea, Lord!

Morning Cup of TeaThis cup of tea, too, belongs to God.

I’m sitting here enjoying an afternoon cup of mint tea and thinking about how enjoyable it is to sit at my laptop, with steam rising from my favorite mug.

Mine. NOT! This cup of tea belongs to God, as does the mug my daughter presented to me. The laptop I write upon…God’s. Why even I belong to God.

The earth and everything in it belongs to God. Scripture declares it to be so.

How easy it is to forget that God is the creator and orchestrator of the world and everything in it. We humans work to achieve goals…houses, cars, appliances, electronics…the list goes on. We seek to better ourselves, but we tend to measure that level of “better” with what our neighbors have.

When I was young, we didn’t have running water or a shower. As a family, we had one car, not a brand-new shining automobile, but a serviceable auto that could get us from point A to point B. I was not embarrassed about having to go outside with a flashlight at night to use the bathroom at the end of the path. I was not ashamed to pump water from the well and carry it inside and hang a dipper on the side from which we could all get a drink. This was life. I accepted it.

Yes, most of my friends lived in town and had the luxury of running hot and cold water, a flush toilet, a bathtub! They were able to catch a bus outside their house to ride to school. I, truly, had to walk a mile to catch the bus. And in the summertime, I walked five miles to visit a friend, or to go to the local five and dime.

This didn’t hurt me. I didn’t think twice about it.

God has moved me from my humble beginnings and brought me to a “better” station of life. I have forgotten, it is only by His grace I am here. He has provided a comfortable, safe home, food to nourish me, a vehicle to transport me, and a hot cup of mint tea in a beautiful mug.

I forget the humble roots from which I came.

I look at the laptop and think, I worked hard to buy this. I smile at the mug my daughter spent her money on to give me.

But none of this is spiritually true. God gave me the means to get the money to purchase a laptop so I could use it to glorify Him. He gave my daughter the means to present a gift to me. And He provided, too, the delicious mint tea.

Here, Lord is your cup of tea. Thank you for your gift.




Guilty! No Second Chances! Stone Him!

out of the darkness walk

“Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”

Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.

As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.

You can read the full account about Stephen in Acts 6 & 7. I’ve been thinking a lot about how things haven’t changed much from the time when the Jews were persecuting Christians to how we persecute today. Close your eyes and imagine being an innocent person standing in the midst of a crowd throwing stone after stone, each hitting your body with a terrible force. The pain grows. You have nowhere to turn. Your legs give out. A huge stone hits your head and you can no longer even kneel upright. You are down on the ground, your body twisted in pain, blood blinding you. But still stone after stone heap upon your body burying you as you slowly lose the battle and then draw your last breath. Do you forgive your attackers like Stephen did?

The Jews believed they were right. They believed the prophets were blaspheming God. They felt justified in casting stones.

But we Christians today look back and can’t believe how something like this could happen. We believe it couldn’t happen in this day and age.

Let me ask you a question. Do you believe in second chances?

As I sip my cup of tea, let me tell you about my brother and sister in Christ. I’ll call them Jerry and Hannah. Jerry and Hannah grew up as neighborhood children who played together. Life took them in different directions. Jerry made some wrong decisions and so did Hannah. When Jerry was drawn into the world of drugs, he made some very bad decisions. He was at rock bottom when God brought Hannah back into his life. She stood by him when no one else would.

Fast forward. Jerry got clean. Jerry found God, Who had been waiting for him to reach out and be saved. Hannah went on her Emmaus walk while Jerry went to prison. When Jerry walked out of the prison early for good behavior, he, too, went on the Emmaus walk. Jerry and Hannah got married in the church. Then hard times hit and they were homeless. Hannah was pregnant. Jerry couldn’t find a job because he was a convicted felon. The only family they had was their church family.

Hannah is currently sleeping in a homeless shelter. Jerry is sleeping in their car at night in the church parking lot. He works part time cleaning the church. But good Christian people look down their noses. They don’t believe he should be working in the church. He is a felon! He is not to be trusted! He was a drug user! Maybe he was a drug dealer!

Jerry and Hannah are trying to get help through the system, but things are moving slowly. When the baby is born, the Salvation Army will help to get them into a house, but Jerry has to have a job which pays enough to cover the rent. But few companies wants to hire a felon.

I hired Jerry to do yard work for me. He cleaned my front garden area, which is HUGE, of every single weed. He raked up all the old mulch and leaves. Then spread mulch. My garden looks fantastic. During the five hours it took for him to do this, Hannah and I sat in lawn chairs and talked. I learned more about them and their childhood. I heard stories about when Jerry was down and out. Jerry shared funny stories and some sad stories about prison life. We laughed together and became better friends. Better Christian friends.

They are not making excuses for the mistakes they made. They love God and are trying to make a new and better life for themselves. Jerry has health issues and most likely won’t live to be an old man. He wants to do right by his wife and the son she carries. He works hard at whatever job he is given to do. He takes pride in doing things right. He needs a break. He needs a second chance.

It breaks my heart to see friends who claim to be loving, caring Christians…those who go home to a nice warm and safe place to sleep…those who have food to eat and don’t worry when they will get their next meal…use their tongues to stone Jerry, just like the Jews used stones to kill Stephen.

I wonder if they ever think about what Jesus would do?


What Do You Do With Unexpected Time Off?

What do you do with unexpected time off? You know, a day when you don’t have any commitments and the hours are like a gift…a day like I was given yesterday.Morning Cup of Tea

It was a dark and stormy morning (forgive me, I am a writer, you know) when my cell phone rang and the Pastor told me not to come in to work. There I stood in the bathroom with my blow dryer in hand, in final preparations to walk out the door. I couldn’t quite grasp the fact that I was being given a free day at home. A day when the thunder rolled, the lightning flashed and the rain was pouring down. After finishing our conversation, I changed out of my work clothes, all the time feeling a bit guilty for having this unexpected time off work.

What to do? I fixed a second cup of tea and carried it down to my office. In my emails I had notifications that all my books were available in the Amazon bookstore. (Yes, another change of mind!) So I zapped over to my website and added a page for my books.

With some anticipated changes coming, I decided to work on my budget next. Have you ever delved so deeply into your budget that you begin to feel like you are in a whirlpool being sucked into a void? Yes, that’s the feeling. But after some prayerful time, I was comfortable with the result. But what would I do now?

I had been a stay at home retired person for six and a half years before I took the part-time job at our church, so I should be used to this. Amazing how our perspective changes when our hours are rearranged!

I decided to place an order for a few summer clothes. Nothing major, just some lightweight slacks, capris, and tops. Just a few, but enough to keep me from looking like a bag lady when I go out. By now the rain had diminished to a light drizzle, so I grabbed my purse and headed to the grocery store. What a treat! I forgot how nice it was to go to the store when it wasn’t crowded! Bought a few weeks groceries for less than $65.00. Major coup!

When I got into the car, I looked at my phone and saw the noises I heard had been two phone calls coming in. Didn’t recognize the number, but the voicemail gave me the answer. Two of my male friends from church were in front of my house waiting to look at my lawnmower which wouldn’t start. Really? On a rainy day like this? But I was overjoyed at their generosity. Of course, they had already left my house and headed to the church to fix a problem toilet, but when they were finished, they’d head back over.

And so they did! After emptying the old gas out, cleaning the spark plug, and still not having any luck, I handed them some starter fluid. A quick squirt in the carburetor and it fired up. I guess I’ll have to make sure to get new gas and add cleaner to it if I want to keep it running good from year to year. It’s amazing the things a gal can learn when she loses the man who took care of everything like that.

I never cease to be in awe of what God can do. Having church family to help out in all kinds of situations, especially when you are a widow, is a huge blessing. God is good!

I finished the afternoon by making a dinner which was one of my hubby’s favorite…our brand of goulash. Yummy!

And that, dear readers, is what I did with my unexpected time off yesterday. Thanks for stopping by and having tea with me today.